Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Tips & Tricks {Hotel Rewards Programs}

You may read this and think,"Duh." But if you haven't already signed up for hotel rewards programs, do it today.

The offers available include having a full-night paid by points or having a night reduced by points with a much lower out-of-pocket rate. Sometimes there will not be a reduced rate offered, and the only way to get a discount is to pay for the night in full with points.

You do have to book through the hotel's website to use your points towards a night's stay.

Wondering which one to pick? You don't have to choose just one. 

I use Wyndham and Choice Hotels. Depending on where you plan to stay for the night, one chain may not have any hotels in a town and the other might. 

If you travel for work, you should get a rewards card for the hotel chain your company uses most often.

A friend of mine travels throughout the year for work. She has saved up her flight miles and hotel points to take a round-the-world trip each year for the past 8 years. Sometimes twice a year.

While that sounds exciting, I'm hoping to accumulate enough points for a discount on my family vacation.

On our most recent trip, I was able to get 3 nights at reduced cost due to points accumulated from previous stays. 

What are you waiting for? Start banking those points today!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Hidden Gems {Carl Sandburg Home}

The Carl Sandburg Home, also known as Connemara, is located in Flat Rock, North Carolina. After parking in the small lot, visitors walk a short path to a peaceful lake. Another winding path up the hill leads to the house and grounds. I would rate the hike up to the house as mild to moderate. 
The lake is behind the white bridge
While we were there, we did not tour the house as I didn't think my boys would be interested. According to the National Park Service, "A fee is required to tour the house for those 16 years of age and older. This fee is $5.00 for adults age 16-61, and $3.00 for adults age 62 and older. Youth 15 years of age and younger are free. We can only accept cash and check for tour fees."

At one time Connemara was home to American poet, Carl Sandburg, and his wife. They ran a goat dairy which can still be seen on a tour of the grounds. 
Headed to see the goats

After a walk around the grounds near the house, we decided to hike to the top of Glassy Mountain. The hike from the barn to the top of the mountain is about 1.25 miles. I would rate this hike as moderate to mildly strenuous. Thankfully, there are a few benches along the way. 

My boys were so proud they reached the top. Unfortunately, it was a foggy day, so there was no view to enjoy.
 Rocky at the top

As you can see from the coats, it was cold when we visited in December. We enjoyed our time there despite the weather. I imgaine it is a beautiful place in the spring.